Tuesday 26 March 2019

Durex-maker Reckitt on the rise again

Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor is to retire after 32 years at the company (Reckitt Benckiser/PA)
Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor is to retire after 32 years at the company (Reckitt Benckiser/PA)

Thomas Buckley

Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor is steering the group back to health as he lays the groundwork for his departure after more than seven years at the helm.

Shares of the maker of Nurofen painkillers and Air Wick fresheners rose yesterday after it forecast a likely increase in comparable sales growth this year, bouncing back from a rocky period that followed a cyberattack, production glitches and other setbacks.

The rosier outlook follows an uptick in sales growth at the end of last year, with each of the company's main businesses - home care and health - surpassing analysts' expectations.

That burnishes the performance of Mr Kapoor, who was a stock-market darling for much of his tenure before stumbling two years ago.

"The innovation engine has been reignited, cranked up and really supercharged," Mr Kapoor said on a conference call with investors. The shares rose as much as 5.5pc in London trading, the most in more than six months.

Reckitt Benckiser's forecast is "better than feared", Richard Taylor, an analyst at Morgan Stanley in London, wrote in a note to investors.

Mr Kapoor said in January that he'd retire by the end of the year. The 60-year-old rose through the ranks to become CEO in September 2011 and won plaudits for over-delivering against the company's own sales forecast, helped by the performance of the consumer-health division, which includes Durex condoms.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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